Association between cognitive function and clustered cardiovascular risk of metabolic syndrome in older adults at risk of cognitive decline

M. M. Y. Lai*, D. J. Ames, K. L. Cox, K. A. Ellis, M. J. Sharman, G. Hepworth, P. Desmond, E. V. Cyarto, C. Szoeke, R. Martins, C. L. Masters, N. T. Lautenschlager

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) represents a cluster of obesity and insulin resistance-related comorbidities. Abdominal obesity, hypertension, elevated triglyceride and glucose levels are components of MetS and may have a negative effect on cognitive function, but few cognitive studies have examined the combined risk severity. We sought to determine which specific cognitive abilities were associated with MetS in older adults at risk of cognitive decline. Design: Cross-sectional study. Participants: 108 AIBL Active participants with memory complaints and at least one cardiovascular risk factor. Measurements: Cardiovascular parameters and blood tests were obtained to assess metabolic syndrome criteria. The factors of MetS were standardized to obtain continuous z-scores. A battery of neuropsychological tests was used to evaluate cognitive function. Results: Higher MetS z-scores were associated with poorer global cognition using ADAS-cog (adjusted standardized beta=0.26, SE 0.11, p<0.05) and higher Trail Making B scores (adjusted beta=0.23, SE 0.11, p<0.05). Higher MetS risk was related to lower cognitive performance. Conclusion: Combined risk due to multiple risk factors in MetS was related to lower global cognitive performance and executive function. A higher MetS risk burden may point to opportunities for cognitive testing in older adults as individuals may experience cognitive changes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)300-304
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

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    • cardiovascular risk
    • cognitive function
    • Metabolic syndrome
    • obesity


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